Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Sharon Mutter (Director), Dr. Steven Haggbloom, Dr. Steven Wininger

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Inductive reasoning (IR) requires efficient working memory (WM). Research shows that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is involved during WM tasks and that PFC functioning declines with age. The ability to comprehend and update text-based information requires an intact PFC and efficient WM and IR. The current study presented a series of messages about the investigation of a warehouse fire to 48 young and 48 older adults. One message contained a piece of misinformation which another message corrected later. It was hypothesized that a memory cue to the misinformation with the correction statement should benefit older adults the most during the updating process. A text-based level and situation model level measured updating. The text-based level is only information from the text but is not necessarily verbatim. The situation model level is the overall meaning of the text, including inferences and assumptions. Results show that unlike young adults, older adults are not capable of recalling the text at the text-based level. However, older adults are capable of performing like young adults at the situation model level. This suggests that older adults are capable of updating causal information in text material as long as a memory cue to the misinformation is provided within the correction statement.


Cognitive Psychology